Release Date: October 14, 2016
Director: Gavin O’ Connor
Writer: Bill Dubuque
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Ben Affleck, Jon Bernthal, J.K. Simmons, Daeg Faerch, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Alison Wright, Samantha Janco, Alphonso A’Qen-Aten Jackson, Alex Zelenka, Seth Lee, Gregory Alan Williams, Gary Basaraba, Ron Yuan, Fernando Chien, Kelly Collins Lintz, Dennis Keiffer, Mary Kraft, Andy Umberger, Ruben Vidal, Michael Beasley, Jason Davis
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 128 minutes
Production Company: Warner Bros., Electric City Entertainment, Zero Gravity Management
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
When you hear the word accountant you wouldn’t be alone if you thought of someone at a desk calculating numbers all day. It can be a tedious anti-climactic profession, or the thrilling career of a driven individual. The last thing you’d probably imagine is a trained, autistic, killing machine that has an obsession with finishing tasks; though The Accountant is so much more than even that. It’s a character piece on a rising condition that takes hold of many lives, with twists that achieve cinematic greatness. It’s a story about family, love, and what really matters in the end. It’s an eye opener for who you are, and a crime drama with sprinkles of great action. It’s multi-layered with substance coming from all directions and addresses hard decisions most people never have to make.
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) has a rare, severe case of autism. It could’ve been his greatest obstacle, but he turns it into his greatest weapon. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, and Christian’s father wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. What stood out to me the most was the relationship between him and his father. A number of tough decisions had to be made by his father, which tore a rift between already blooming relationships. Christian also had a brother, and their father was tough on both of them. He didn’t want his boys being taken advantage of, knowing the world was a cruel place. So he did everything he could to not shelter them and give them a taste of what’s inevitable. It was these scenes that made you care more and more. Not just of the situation, but for the father himself. He seemed like a hardworking man that in a sense got dealt difficult cards, but still managed to hold his own. Though of course he wasn’t the only one that held his own. Christian got his fair share of that as well.
It would’ve been great if the subtitle for this film was “silent assassin,” because it fits so well with the narrative. There are many details to his character that runs consistent from the beginning of the film to the end. I loved the entire arc of his character from where he started to where he ultimately ended up. He’s a guy that just wants to be left alone for the most part and do what’s right, but at the same time he has an itch for solving problems and won’t rest until they’re all solved. There’s so much dedication that goes into his work; from the preparation of an assignment and the types of markers he’ll use, all the way to the way he writes symmetrically over every surface he lays his eyes on. As mentioned earlier, this is a crime drama, but it has bits of action that all come at the perfect time. It’s like extra bonuses that weren’t expected that make it that much more worthwhile. There was no excess violence just for the sake of it, and every kill was calculated and warranted given the situation.
The cast was also superb across the board. Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) character didn’t have all the action chops, but her asking all the necessary questions any sane person would at the moment makes you latch on to her. Brax (Jon Bernthal) set himself up perfectly as that guy that you don’t want to piss off. He was so confident with every word he spoke. It’s like he already knew the outcome of every situation, but was bored that he had to sit through it. The word suave comes to mind when his character comes to mind. I’ve seen Cynthia Addai-Robinson in a number of episodes of the television show Arrow, and I was never a fan of her acting. However, she held her own this time as Marybeth Medina.
Seeing a number of episodes of the television show Arrow, I’m familiar with the work of Ray King (J.K. Simmons). He was someone most can relate to, especially if they’re about to retire. The older you get, the less you give a crap about certain things and what people say. You just want to go through your day, being as blunt as you can possibly be. This sums up Mr. King in a second. He had the best revelation of all the characters, and it set him on a new path for justice.
Just as our titular character Christian is complicated, so is the story of the film. It started in an unusual spot and circled back around, which may have been unnecessary. While the film is only two hours long, the 8-10 minutes that made the story linger on a bit could’ve been shaved off. It’s a great scene though and gives so much depth to Mr. King’s character. The only problem is it’s a side story that is focusing on his character and barely the main character, Christian. Yes, it does give the audience more backstory, but it didn’t add anything extra to the previous plot points brought up. Without it the film would still be a great achievement, and it would have flowed smoother.
The Accountant was able to accomplish what a number of films can’t, giving the audience multiple elements of storytelling without playing favorite to a certain description of genre. There was crime, action, drama, suspense, love, pain, and comedy all balled up into one. I can’t call this an action film at all, but the action within it stands out. That just goes to show that director Gavin O’ Connor’s direction relies on characters and story, rather than cheap spectacle. He was able to do the same with his film Warrior, which is unfortunately underrated. Hopefully, this film will bring more attention to his filmography.